Chelsea’s Hazard plays down praise

Chelsea and Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard has played down the praise sent his way from Marc Wilmots, his national team Coach, ESPN has reported.

Wilmots suggested after Belgium’s 2-1 win over Algeria on Tuesday that the 23-year-old needed to loosen up a little on the pitch – and that’s all that is stopping him from being on par with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Seriously? He said that?” Hazard replied when Wilmots’ comments were brought to his attention. “Well, I never like to talk about myself in that way because, to be honest, I don’t think I deserve it at the moment.

“To be thought of as one of the best five in the world, I would need to score more goals for a start,” he continued. “I would really need to score almost every game because that that is what the best players in the world – like Messi and Ronaldo – do every season.

“These are the guys everyone else has to aim for. It’s nice of the Coach to say such things, but I wouldn’t say the same.”

Hazard created what proved to be the winning goal for Belgium, teeing up Dries Mertens as the Red Devils counter-attacked and took the lead. Sofiane Feghouli had previously put Algeria in front before Marouane Fellaini levelled and Hazard helped complete the turnaround.

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